Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady made a direct appeal to the management of the Bank of Ireland to reverse their decision to refuse to allow one of their branch buildings, situated in Carnew, to be used by the community.
Deputy Brady Said:
“We have already witnessed how the decision by the Bank of Ireland to close 88 of its branches around the country has contributed to the ongoing erosion of the fabric of our local communities. Three of which were in County Wicklow, in Carnew, Rathdrum, and Tinahely.
I have made representations to the Bank of Ireland at the behest of the community in Carnew that the former branch building in the town be allowed to be used by the local community.
The Bank responded by stating that it has no intention of engaging in short term leases or handing it over to the community and they intend to prepare the building to be put on the market in the second quarter of 2022.
This is not only deeply disappointing; it is a snub to the local community.
The decision to close the branches in Carnew, Tinahely and Rathdrum has hit the community hard. I believe the very least Bank of Ireland could do now is give something back to the community that they have now turned their back on.
The bank that we bailed out is now making huge profits, 2021 seen a 17% year on year rise in operating profit for Bank of Ireland. The bank also had an underlying profit before tax of €465m for the first six months of 2021.
Local Sinn Féin representative Aidan Kinsella said:
“It was local communities like our own here in Carnew that were called upon to bail out the Banks, after they took this country to its knees.
The Irish taxpayer funded the Bank of Ireland to the tune of €4.7 billion in order to bail it out. It is a bank in which the Irish government remains a substantial shareholder.
And now we have a situation where the leading Bank in the country is again looking to maximise the profits of shareholders over that of a local community.
Deputy Brady continued:
“I want to make a direct appeal to the management of the Bank of Ireland to reconsider their decision. A decision to allow this building to be used by the community has the potential to make a real contribution to the area. A failure to do so, will be seen for what it is. A failure by the Banks to learn anything from the lessons of the past, as they continue to pursue their massive profits at the expense of ordinary communities.”